Let’s take a long look at the list of key players in this messed up game of Russian roulette. You will see how the “frank” speaking U.S. senator from Minnesota, Al Franken, has outlined his case against President Donald Trump and the alleged Russian ties.
They include three former officials, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, Trump campaign manager Paul Manifort and advisor Carter Page. There are also current members, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and senior adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.
All six men mentioned above have since been discovered to have formal links to Russia, and Sen. Franken made his case during the dramatic testimony of former Justice Department official Sally Yates. Franken is not shy and doesn’t soften the blow when he has something serious to say.
At the start of the hearing, Franken went through the list of the six alleged Trump players, demanding to know why Trump did not immediately dump former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn once it was learned that Flynn had lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his connections to Russia.
It wasn’t like President Trump had no inkling what was going on. Franken pointed to the reliable judgment of both former President Barack Obama and Yates who had warned Trump not to hire Flynn because the nomination would be tainted by Flynn’s links to Russia and President Vladimir Putin.
Franken then began discussing what national security entails for the United States at the hearing, and he also read from the department’s definition and requirements for national security clearance. Words like sound judgment, reliability and freedom from allegiances were mentioned.
Franken also talked about Flynn and his $37,000 paid appearance on Russia Today which is thought to be a propaganda-run TV network.
“Would you appear on Russia Today?” Franken asked James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence.
Clapper said he would not go on willingly, and the hearing audience began to chuckle.
The Senator then asked Yates if she had alerted Trump about Flynn, and she answered that she had indeed.
When further probed why President Trump ignored her warning, Yates responded by saying she didn’t want to speculate.
Then Franken let Trump have it in this fashion. He claimed that maybe Trump didn’t want to get rid of Flynn because there were several others in Trump’s administration who also were secretly embroiled in the ties to Russia, and those names had not yet been revealed to the public, until they were caught.